Don Karp

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This is the story of my experiences living as an ex-pat in Mexico since 2003. It's to culminate in a published book. With your help, I'll be editing, selecting a title, and cover art: a participatory project. Your comments encouraged!

Letters from Mexico

Letters - Where Expats Blog

March 30, 2022

Valle de Atongo

Foreground has lush green semi-tropical vegetation. In the background are columnar-shaped mountains with trees on top and greenery cascading over the sides.

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. View from the outdoor restaurant,   Cafe Mozart, in Valle de Atongo. Photo by author

Valle de Atongo is the largest section of metropolitan Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. It is mostly residential, and the wealthiest neighborhood. I love to walk there, past the fine huge walled in estates. You'll see why in the images I share.

Cafe Mozart

Valle Atongo borders the neighborhood where I live. The first slideshow (below) documents a walk to Cafe Mozart, one of the very few commercial establishments in this part of the Atongo.

Please note, that to the horror of some of my Mexico boosters, I do portray some of the negative realities that I see. Although my main focus with this blog series is not that way, I do show some of the ugliness. For example, in this show I have some photos of construction materials piled up in the streets outside of the estates

In the video below, I show the Cafe, and then provide slides showing a walk home from there. The cafe itself is outdoors, with great views of the mountains in a jungle atmosphere. It is also a German bakery, specializing in apple strudel, cookies, and a tasty chocolate cake. My favorite on the menu is the American kosher all beef hot dogs. On the walk back, I point out the irony of a sign in Spanish that says do not leave trash, with some trash beneath it in the street. There are also a couple of neighborhood internet connectivity boxes covered with ugly graffiti.

The Cultural Center, Plaza, and Its Neighborhood

The plaza is on the other side of Valle de Atongo from where I live. I take two public vans to get to that neighborhood.

I walked past the plaza, which is half a block from the van stop on the main street, on Camino al Metztitla, and turned on to Camino a Tecuac.

St sign 1
St sign 2

The Pedro Lopez Cultural Center is a ten minute walk down Tecuac. It is the main library of Tepoztlán, and is the home of the film archives of the state of Morelos. It has stalls housing arts and crafts workshops for children, and an outdoor performance space in the back of the library. When I got to the gate, I was informed that the Center is closed except for weekends during performances.

Atongo Streets
Lopez Center

As I walked back to the plaza, on the beautiful streets, I noticed signs for some retreat centers and a hotel, as shown below.

Hotel signs

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Street signs in Valle de Atongo. Photo by author

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Entrance of cultural center in Valle de Atongo. Photo by author

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico.  Top: Streets in Valle de Atongo. Bott: Painted walls. Photo by author

Tepoztlán, Morelos, Mexico. Hotels and retreats in Valle de Atongo. Photo by author

At the time of this writing, the plaza is the home of a bookstore and plant shop, in front, and a restaurant and cafe towards the back. As you enjoy watching this slide show, please notice the contrast to shopping malls in the US with a similar diversity of shops.

Nature in Atongo

All of those roads in Atongo are very beautiful, and I love walking there. But what's behind those walls?

Here is a blog about Jose, who lives in a compound. The video interview, and the one, "Jose's Domain," both show the incredible lush gardens of his abode.

The Deer Sanctuary (Santuario de los Venaditos) is a beautiful nature preserve with two main trails--one to a cascade, and the other to an overlook with petroglyphs and a cave. Read about it here.


What do you think? Is this a place you'd like to live?



Please email me your comments:    [email protected]

I will post them here with your first name unless you ask to be anon.

way cool!  Beautiful videos and I loved the music!  How fortunate to have so many interesting places to explore.....Happy days, Shen Pauley

Thanks, Shen--I am glad you started reading my blogs and that you enjoyed this one.

Enjoyed your interview with Jose and your description of Valle de Atongo. I love the little shops. The expat and tourist aspect is problematic. We used to try to find less US heavy areas but we are everywhere and if you were not sending back these pictures and interviews we would not be able to re-experience one our fondest memories of Mexico. We brought our young daughters there about 30 years ago. We still have a map of the city on our wall made by the map maker. We wanted to a map of the streets and ended up with a map of the time and crops, churches and festivals as well as the streets. It still adorns our Cambridge kitchen wall. --Daniel Fisher

Great that you liked my interview with Jose and my article on Atongo. The map you describe sounds very interesting. When you come to visit me in Tepoz, please bring it with you for me to see.